Intelligent Design Philosophy Science

Getting at what we MEAN by “truth”

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Yeah, truth. In an age when fishwraps claim to be telling us “The Truth” even while books are written about post-truth (Oxford’s Word of the Year 2016), a look at the different things people can mean does not come amiss.

J. R. Miller offers some guidance: “It seem like a simple questions, but when you start talking to people you realize we don’t all share the same answer:

“In fact, much of the conflict we find on social media is because not everyone defines “truth” in the same way. Let me share with you three competing views of truth:

  1. The Epistemic theory of truth holds that truth is a relationship between a proposition and the criteria of the person’s mind. E.g. “What’s true for you may not be true for me.”
  2. The Pragmatic theory of truth holds that truth is only that which is useful. E.g. “As long as it works for you…”
  3. The Correspondence theory of truth holds that truth is a proposition which corresponds to reality. In this case (unlike the epistemic and pragmatic theories), truth is independent of human knowledge. (E.g. The statement, “The sky is blue” is true even for someone who is blind.)] J. R. Miller, “What do you accept as “truth”?” at More Than Cake “

See also: J. R. Miller on the social justice warriors

and

J. R. Miller on Darwinism, racism, and human zoos

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62 Replies to “Getting at what we MEAN by “truth”

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    I regularly run into people who say something along the lines of, “I don’t care what your sources are, I’ll NEVER believe that.”

    But then there are the Fine Point arguments. For example, for American school children WW2 began on 1 SEP 1939, when German troops invaded Poland. However, one book, perhaps from an English publishing house, pointed out that if you ask ENGLISH school children “When did WW2 start?”, they will reply, “3 SEP 1939.”

    The difference is that England didn’t declare war on Germany until the 3rd, and what was going on before England and France jumped in was something like “The Germano-Polish War of 1939”. Germans and Poles had previously fought LOTS of wars over the preceding 1,000+ years. The 1939 war was significant mostly because both sides were officially “countries” rather than diplomatic constructs like “the Grand Duchy of Warsaw”.

    So, it’s possible for something to be “true” in a very narrow sense, but false or misleading in any general application.

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, we already have adequate language for opinions, commonly held views, truth that is sufficiently well warranted to be generally accepted, and more. Why not simply leave truth as that which says of what is, that it is and of what is not that it is not? Is not more than that, that which cometh of evil? KF

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    VM, It is arguable that WW2 began in 1931 when Japan invaded Manchuria, destabilising the fragile international League of Nations system of peace, and bringing the US into full geostrategic contest with Japan. It then spread as the Fascist powers began to make expansionist moves and rode piggyback on the Spanish civil war. The Sept 1 1939 invasion was in the teeth of guarantees and so the UK and France were forced to either back Poland or surrender to unlimited aggression. Poland being more or less the scale of France and having a considerable army, they thought it would stand long enough to get an offensive going against the Germans in the W. They tried and ran into minefields, so Poland ended up carved up between Germany and Russia in a matter of weeks thanks to air dominance and converging thusts with fast moving infantry and tanks [this was not full “Blitzkrieg” as we would later see and certainly was not deep battle], with Hitler and his generals having back-forths on a western campaign from October 1939 on. Russia’s mini war with Japan over Manchuria caused the Japanese to back off on Russia in 1939, and the Russian moves against Finland triggered dubious moves by both the western allies and the Germans against Norway. Then came May 10, 1940. The snowballing had begun, and then June 22 and December 7 1941 sealed the deal. KF

    PS: A deceitful half truth is true in what it narrowly affirms but materially and manipulatively false in what it suggests.

  4. 4
    Ed George says:

    The problem with “truth” in discussion threads is that we often say that something is True, as if that should end the conversation., when it is in fact an opinion. For example, saying that the immaterial mind is a truth, or saying that momisexuality is a sin, is not factual. They are opinions, or beliefs, or conclusions, not truths.

  5. 5
    EricMH says:

    @EG, some opinions are true and some are false. The true opinions are truths and the false ones are falsities. Problem is, we don’t always know which is which, so we need to reason to the truth of the matter as best we can. And, despite our best efforts we can sometimes or even often fail. However, that does not negate the possibility of discovering the truth.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, are there moral truths? As in, can it be an accurate description of reality [= truth] that some act, speech act or thought act X is good or bad in a sense that one ought to X or else that one ought-not to X? For example, I posit that moral yardstick truth # 1 obtains: it is self-evidently true that it is evil, perverse, wicked, awfully wrong and ought not to be done, to kidnap, bind, sexually violate and murder a young child for one’s pleasure. I give a very specific, unfortunately real-life case here, as it is highly instructive and opens up a world of moral truth that our indoctrination that morality is about values not truths would lock us out of. KF

    PS: I also hold it to be self-evident that || + ||| –> |||||

  7. 7
    Barry Arrington says:

    Ed George: “the Holocaust was evil.” True or mere opinion, conclusion or belief?

  8. 8
    Ed George says:

    Eric

    EG, some opinions are true and some are false.

    I think that goes without saying. But to call an opinion a truth, even if it turns out to be so, is an indication that the person may have a closed mind and not open to reasonable discussion.

    For example, many people assert that God, objective morality and an eternal soul are truths. Even though I believe in these, I am also smart enough to realize that these are my opinion and may very well not reflect absolute truths.

  9. 9
    Ed George says:

    BA

    Ed George: “the Holocaust was evil.” True or mere opinion, conclusion or belief?

    My point wasn’t that there aren’t truths, just that we have to be cautious when throwing the term around to qualify what, at best, is an opinion supported by evidence, at worst, an opinion with little support.

    Eugenics was sold based on what were claimed to be biological truths. Hitler claimed truths when selling his treatment of Jews to his people. For centuries homosexuals were prosecuted and persecuted on what were claimed to be truths. Women were denied the vote many positions in the workforce based on what were claimed to be truths. SJWs claim truths when they attempt to stifle free speech.

    I prefer to limit my use of this term to things that are known to be factual beyond all reasonable doubt. But, again, I am only expressing my opinion and people will do what they want to do.

  10. 10
    Barry Arrington says:

    Ed at 9.
    Yes, error certainly exists. You point some out.
    But I doubt I am the only one who noticed you did not answer the question.

  11. 11
    EricMH says:

    @EG it seems like the statement “the mind is immaterial” could well be a truth. And, we may well be justified in saying the statement is a truth. On first glance, it is the most obvious interpretation of our direct experience of the world. Only if we accept the premise that everything must be reduced to matter does the statement appear false. But, why accept materialism in the first place?

    Most of these statements: immaterial soul, existence of God, morality, objective truth, are all very obvious. It is only after a lot of academic contortions do they become doubtful. But, then after even more education we realize the academic propositions are incoherent, and so what was the point?

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, it is easy to traffic in what were once called “glittering generalities.” We are dealing with specific test cases which by strict logic refute claims of order, there is no X. But if there is at least one x in X that holds, that fails. So, again, is it true or false — not, it is my opinion — that “it is self-evidently true that it is evil, perverse, wicked, awfully wrong and ought not to be done, to kidnap, bind, sexually violate and murder a young child for one’s pleasure.” Likewise, is it true or false that the Nazi holocaust of 6 million Jews and 5 million others, was evil? If just one moral truth claim is true, there are moral truths, OUGHT is not merely opinions and disagreements. KF

    PS: Evil is typically defined as the privation, frustration, perversion etc of the good out of its proper end.

  13. 13
    Seversky says:

    There are many claims of truth, the question is how do we decide between them? How do we assess whether there is sufficient warrant to accept some claims but reject others? If the claims are about the natural world then we can compare each claim to what we can observe of that reality, in other words, the correspondence theory of truth. But if the claim is about how we ought to behave towards one another then how do we evaluate it? An ‘ought’claim is not a claim about what ‘is’ so, by the correspondence theory, there are no such things as moral truths.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Ed George states:

    The problem with “truth” in discussion threads is that we often say that something is True, as if that should end the conversation., when it is in fact an opinion. For example, saying that the immaterial mind is a truth, or saying that momisexuality is a sin, is not factual. They are opinions, or beliefs, or conclusions, not truths.

    Holding that immaterial mind and morality are just “opinions” and that they are not objectively true and/or objectively ‘real’, is a self-defeating position for Ed to be in.

    Especially self-defeating is the claim from Ed George that his immaterial mind in particular is merely an ‘opinion’ and that it is not objectively true and/or objectively real.

    If the immaterial Mind of God in particular, and our own immaterial minds in general, are not objectively true and/or objectively real, but are merely relative whims of opinion of different people, then NOTHING else can ever possibly be objectively true and/or objectively real for us. Period!

    In what I consider to be a shining example of poetic justice, in their claim that God does not really exist as a real person but is merely an illusion, the Atheistic materialist himself also ends up claiming that he himself does not really exist as a real person but that he is merely a neuronal illusion. Here are a few references that drive this point home,,,

    “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant:,,) Read more here:
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins
    ”If consciousness is an illusion… what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness
    By STEVEN PINKER – Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
    Part II THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
    Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.
    http://www.academia.edu/279485.....sciousness

    “(Daniel) Dennett concludes, ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’.”
    J.W. SCHOOLER & C.A. SCHREIBER – Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection – 2004

    The Consciousness Deniers – Galen Strawson – March 13, 2018
    Excerpt: What is the silliest claim ever made? The competition is fierce, but I think the answer is easy. Some people have denied the existence of consciousness: conscious experience, the subjective character of experience, the “what-it-is-like” of experience.,,,
    Who are the Deniers?,,, Few have been fully explicit in their denial, but among those who have been, we find Brian Farrell, Paul Feyerabend, Richard Rorty, and the generally admirable Daniel Dennett.,,,
    http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2.....s-deniers/

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does..”
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    etc.. etc.. etc..

    The claim from Atheistic Materialists that they are not really real persons but are merely neuronal illusions of the ‘real’ brain is a particularly strange claim for them to make since the fact that we really exist as real persons is the most certain thing that we can possibly know about reality and to deny that ‘most certain’ fact we can possibly know about reality is to undermine ‘certainty’ altogether and is to commit epistemological suicide.

    David Chalmers on (the hard problem of) Consciousness – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Yo6VbRoo

    “(Rene) Descartes remarks that he can continue to doubt whether he has a body; after all, he only believes he has a body as a result of his perceptual experiences, and so the demon could be deceiving him about this. But he cannot doubt that he has a mind, i.e. that he thinks. So he knows he exists even though he doesn’t know whether or not he has a body.”
    http://cw.routledge.com/textbo.....ualism.pdf

    “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists.”
    – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177.

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the main founder of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

    “In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could not believe that mind is not primary in the first place.”
    – William J. Murray

    “You see we always start from the fact that we are conscious. Consciousness is the only carrier of reality and existence that we can know. Everything else is abstraction; [they] are inferences we make from consciousness.”
    – Dr. Bernardo Kastrup

    In fact, the claim that immaterial mind is an illusion and that only the material brain is objectively real and true is self defeating in and of itself simply because, “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”

    The Illusionist – Daniel Dennett’s latest book marks five decades of majestic failure to explain consciousness. – 2017
    “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”
    – David Bentley Hart
    https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-illusionist

    “I think the idea of (materialists) saying that consciousness is an illusion doesn’t really work because the very notion of an illusion presupposes consciousness. There are no illusions unless there is a conscious experience or (a conscious person) for whom there is an illusion.”
    Evan Thompson, Philosopher – author of Waking, Dreaming, Being

    Besides their claim that they really don’t exist as real persons but are merely neuronal illusions, in their denial of the reality of their own immaterial mind, many other things become illusory, i.e. unreal and therefore untrue, for the atheistic materialist. Things that everyone else with any common sense resolutely hold to be concrete and real.

    For example, if atheistic materialism were actually true then mathematics itself, the very backbone of science itself, would become illusory:

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Thus, although atheistic materialism and/or physicalism is taught as “the” scientific worldview in most American Universities, atheistic materialism and/or physicalism is refuted as “the” scientific worldview simply because it cannot ever possibly ground ‘immaterial’ mathematics within itself. Simply put, if your worldview cannot possibly ground mathematics then your worldview cannot possibly ground science to begin with.

    Shoot atheistic materialism, beside failing to ground personhood and mathematics, cannot even ground the abstract concept of species,,,

    Darwin, Design & Thomas Aquinas
    Excerpt: Denial of True Species
    Enter Darwinism. Recall that Darwin sought to explain the origin of “species.” Yet as he pondered his theory, he realized that it destroyed species as a reality altogether. For Darwinism suggests that any matter can potentially morph into any other arrangement of matter without the aid of an organizing principle. He thought cells were like simple blobs of Jell-O, easily re-arrangeable. For Darwin, there is no immaterial, immutable form. In The Origin of Species he writes:
    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    Statements like this should make card-carrying Thomists shudder.,,,
    The first conflict between Darwinism and Thomism, then, is the denial of true species or essences. For the Thomist, this denial is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge. As philosopher Benjamin Wiker observes in Moral Darwinism, Darwin reduced species to “mere epiphenomena of matter in motion.” What we call a “dog,” in other words, is really just an arbitrary snapshot of the way things look at present. If we take the Darwinian view, Wiker suggests, there is no species “dog” but only a collection of individuals, connected in a long chain of changing shapes, which happen to resemble each other today but will not tomorrow.
    https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=23-06-037-f

    The failure of reductive materialism to account for what a species truly is pretty much renders any Darwinian explanations for the ‘origin of species’ as so much imaginary nonsense.

    Not only does Darwin’s theory fail to account for what a species is, the ‘bottom up’ reductive materialistic framework of Darwinian evolution is also found to be grossly inadequate for explaining how any particular organism might achieve its basic “form” and/or shape.

    Darwinism vs Biological Form – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w

    Simply put, any definition that we may put forth so as to provide a proper ‘context’ to any particular collection of material particles, cannot possibly be grounded within atheistic materialism.

    Pastor Joe Boot puts the irresolvable dilemma for atheistic materialists as such, ” It’s like my kids do ‘join the dots’ puzzles. It’s just dots, but when you join the dots there is a structure, and a picture emerges. Well, the atheists is without that (final picture). There is no preestablished pattern (to connect the facts given atheism).”

    “If you have no God, then you have no design plan for the universe. You have no prexisting structure to the universe.,, As the ancient Greeks held, like Democritus and others, the universe is flux. It’s just matter in motion. Now on that basis all you are confronted with is innumerable brute facts that are unrelated pieces of data. They have no meaningful connection to each other because there is no overall structure. There’s no design plan. It’s like my kids do ‘join the dots’ puzzles. It’s just dots, but when you join the dots there is a structure, and a picture emerges. Well, the atheists is without that (final picture). There is no preestablished pattern (to connect the facts given atheism).”
    Pastor Joe Boot – quote taken from 13:20 minute mark of the following video:
    Defending the Christian Faith – Pastor Joe Boot – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqE5_ZOAnKo

    Pastor Joe Boot critique of atheistic materialism is now validated with the extension of Godel’s incompleteness theorem to physics.

    In the following article entitled ‘Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics ’, which studied the derivation of macroscopic properties from a complete microscopic description, the researchers remark that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,, The researchers further commented that their findings challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”

    Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015
    Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,,
    It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,
    “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-12-q.....godel.html

    Simply put, atheistic materialism and/or physicalism, since it denies the primacy of the immaterial mind, cannot possibly ever ground any given ‘defining context’ that we may put forth so as to give ‘meaning’ to the universe or anything within the universe. i.e. to give meaning any particle or any collection of particles.

    Whereas on the other hand, Christianity has no trouble whatsoever providing a ‘defining context’ for why the universe and everything within the universe exists. i.e. no problem providing ‘meaning’ for the why the universe and everything within it exists.

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    And this is not merely me quoting scripture and expecting you to unquestionably accept that scripture. When the Agent Causality of God, i.e. the “immaterial mind of God, is let back into the picture of modern physics, as quantum physics itself now demands (with the closing of the free will loop-hole), and as the Christian founders of modern physics originally envisioned, (Sir Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, Michael Faraday, and Max Planck, to name a few), then an empirically backed reconciliation, (via the Shroud of Turin), between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, i.e. the ‘Theory of Everything’, readily pops out for us in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

    Short take: Copernican Principle, Agent Causality, and Jesus Christ as the “Theory of Everything” December 2018:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/quantum-physicist-the-particle-itself-does-not-know-where-it-is/#comment-669088

    In conclusion, the claim that truth is just an opinion subject to the whims of different people with no ultimate resolution for what is actually true is just self refuting nonsense.

    The ultimate “Truth”, i.e. the ultimate ‘context’, for why the universe and everything within the universe exists cannot possibly be grounded within atheistic materialism and/or physicalism, as is falsely held in American Universities, but must instead be grounded within an immaterial mind so as to avoid catastrophic epistemological failure.

    Moreover, when we rightly let immaterial mind and/or agent causality. i.e. Theism, ‘back’ into the picture of modern physics, then that ‘ultimate truth’ is found to be, not in some mathematical formula, but none other than in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    John 8:31-32
    Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
    And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words “The Lamb” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tmka1l8GAQ

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, before we get to knowing specific claimed truths, there is a prior issue to be clear as to what truth itself properly refers to. From the above it is clear that the waters have been muddied rather badly. And yet, from Metaphysics 1011b, Aristotle has been remarkably clear, direct and simple: truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. Letting your yes and no be accurate to reality in short. KF

    PS: On warrant, I have found that far too often, there is a tendency to irresponsible, selective hyperskepticism.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: On “ought,” I have often given a highly instructive (and unfortunately real-world) yardstick no 1: it is self-evidently true that it is evil, perverse, wicked, awfully wrong and ought not to be done, to kidnap, bind, sexually violate and murder a young child for one’s pleasure. The attempted denial is patently absurd, and so we can regard this yardstick truth as established. A yardstick MORAL truth, which shows that we can and do recognise that there are specific valid moral truths. Further to this, those who imply or suggest that there are no moral truths beyond opinion backed by might and/or manipulation effectively lend support to monstrous nihilism similar to what the above case points out.

    PPPS: I extend this here in a UD FTR: https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/fyi-ftr-07-demands-a-list-of-ten-self-evident-moral-truths/

  18. 18
    Ed George says:

    Eric

    EG it seems like the statement “the mind is immaterial” could well be a truth.

    It could be. And probably is. But there is certainly enough contrary evidence to cast doubt on it.

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let me extend the linked info:

    >> 1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial. [–> I add: note, even our reasoning, debating, arguing pivots on known duties to truth, right reason and fairness, ponder the consequences of throwing over the traces on such OUGHTS])

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. (That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.)

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world-understanding in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. If a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT — so that IS and OUGHT are inextricably fused at that level, it fails decisively.*)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare; usurping the sword of justice to impose a ruthless policy agenda in fundamental breach of that civil peace which must ever pivot on manifest justice. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. In short, nihilistic will to power untempered by the primacy of justice is its own refutation in any type of state. Where, justice is the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities. (In Aristotle’s terms as cited by Hooker: “because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like .”) Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    (NB: This is a requisite of accountability for justice, and the suggestion or implication of some views across time, that government can reasonably be unaccountable to the governed, is its own refutation, reflecting — again — nihilistic will to power; which is automatically absurd. This truth involves the issue that finite, fallible, morally struggling men acting as civil authorities in the face of changing times and situations as well as in the face of the tendency of power to corrupt, need to be open to remonstrance and reformation — or if they become resistant to reasonable appeal, there must be effective means of replacement. Hence, the principle that the general election is an insitutionalised regular solemn assembly of the people for audit and reform or if needs be replacement of government gone bad. But this is by no means an endorsement of the notion that a manipulated mob bent on a march of folly has a right to do as it pleases.)

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. As, has been seen in outline. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.
    _________________

    * F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.>>

    KF

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, just what particular contrary evidence, i/l/o the easily shown point that a computational substrate [=refined, organised rock] and its programming are mechanically and/or stochastically grinding out OUTPUTS, not making reasoned inferences? There is a reason why they speak of being as dumb as a rock, or of how GIGO rules the roost in computation. KF

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    Descartes: ‘I can doubt everything except for the fact that I exist’

    Ed George: “I can doubt everything, especially the fact that I exist”

    Descartes: “I can also doubt that ‘you’ exist, but I cannot doubt that I exist.”

    Since Ed George cannot be sure whether he exist or not, and I have no way of knowing for absolute certainty that he is in fact having a subjective conscious experience and is not in fact a Philosophical Zombie, i.e. a meat robot, then I am forced to treat all the words coming from him with all the respect that is due to the gurgling, popping, and whistling sounds coming from a mindless zombie.

    “(Daniel) Dennett concludes, ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’.”
    J.W. SCHOOLER & C.A. SCHREIBER – Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection – 2004

    Philosophical Zombies – cartoon
    http://existentialcomics.com/comic/11

    David Chalmers on Consciousness (Descartes, Philosophical Zombies and the Hard Problem) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Yo6VbRoo

  22. 22
    Barry Arrington says:

    At comment 7 I wrote: “Ed George: ‘the Holocaust was evil.’ True or mere opinion, conclusion or belief?”
    Ed has declined to answer the question. I don’t blame him. He really is on the horns of a dilemma. If he says “true,” he gives the whole game away. If he says anything other than an unqualified “true,” he sounds stupid at best and evil at worst for espousing a view everyone — including, of course, Ed himself — knows to be false. Better to just keep quite, continue to play the game, and hope no one notices.

  23. 23
    steve_h says:

    Ed George: ‘the Holocaust was evil.’ True or mere opinion, conclusion or belief?”

    There are two issues here – as there are each time when you ask “is it always evil to torture a baby for pleasure”. You could get two “Yes” or “No” answers simply by asking two questions:
    Do you think the holocaust/torturing a child is always wrong/evil? and do you think there is an absolute
    external moral standard by which we could answer all such questions.

    Most atheists/materialists would probably answer “Yes” to the first and “No” to the second, but you
    always insist on a simple “Yes” or “No”. Why is that? After all, you know you are going to spew many words
    misrepresenting their views regardless of the answer. A single “Yes” or “No” can only cover one of these
    two questions and no matter which one they chose, you will claim that they were answering the other one.

    If they answer “Yes”, meaning that they think the holocaust/torture is always evil, you will claim
    that they obviously accept an external and objective standard and that they are therefore lying
    when they tell you that they do not believe in such a thing.

    If they answer “No” meaning only that they don’t believe in an external/objective standard you
    know it will look to many people as though the answer concerned holocausts/torture and neither you
    nor any of your like-minded regulars here will make any attempt to correct the misunderstanding. Quite
    the contrary, because that misunderstanding is exactly the result you want.

    If they explain that a simple yes/no answer can not accurately convey their thoughts on these two
    separate issues, you will claim they are refusing to give a simple answer to a simple question, or
    accuse them of being long-winded, or make up some fresh new way to mispresent them (Eg “This commenter thinks it’s OK for other people to kill/torture people”), or you will delete the answer,
    or ban the commenter (or some combination of these)

    And if they refuse to play along with your dishonest game you will accuse them of cowardice.

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    Steve_h, actually, if you would have read Barry’s other post on a hypothetical moral dilemma ,,,

    What’s The Point Of Materialist Psychology? – December 31, 2018 – Barry Arrington
    Excerpt: Sev says he believes we live in a material world, but like every sane person he lives his life as if that is not a fact at all. Isn’t it odd that materialists live their lives as if their most fundamental belief is totally false. Why do they do that?
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/whats-the-point-of-materialist-psychology/

    ,,, you would have realized that Barry specifically addresses the denial of an absolute external moral standard by atheists.

    i.e. Barry certainly does not pretend that atheists don’t believe there is not an absolute moral standard to live by as you falsely insinuate that he does in your post at 23.

    Barry specific response to the atheist’s denial of an absolute moral standard is to point out the fact that the atheist’s own life testifies against the atheist’s claim that there is no absolute moral standard. That is to say, the atheist himself can’t live his life as if morality were merely illusory and thus the way in which the atheist himself lives his own life is proof that an absolute moral standard must exist. Here are a few notes to that effect:

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt:,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

    Richard Dawkins himself admitted that it would be quote unquote ‘intolerable’ for him to live his life as if atheistic materialism were actually true

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt:
    Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    The argument against the atheists claim that morality does not exist is simply stated as such: “if it is impossible for you to live as if your worldview were actually true then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but your worldview must instead be based on a delusion.”

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    Moreover, the fact that one of the most powerful (self-refuting) arguments for atheism is the ‘argument from evil” is a testament in and of itself to the fact that atheists themselves resolutely believe in objective morality.

    Specifically, in the argument from evil atheists hold that “There exist a large number of horrible forms of evil and suffering for which we can see no greater purpose or compensating good.”

    The Problem of Evil: Still A Strong Argument for Atheism – 2015
    Excerpt:,,, the problem of evil, one of the main arguments against the existence of an all-good and all-knowing God.,,,
    P1. There exist a large number of horrible forms of evil and suffering for which we can see no greater purpose or compensating good.
    P2. If an all-powerful, all-good God existed, then such horrific, apparently purposeless evils would not exist.
    C. Therefore, an all-powerful, all-good God does not exist.
    https://thegodlesstheist.com/2015/10/13/the-problem-of-evil-still-a-strong-argument-for-atheism/

    And yet this is, once again, a self defeating position for the atheist to be in.

    Specifically on the one hand, Atheistic materialists hold that morality is subjective and illusory.

    Atheism’s Odd Relationship with Morality By Rabbi Adam Jacobs – 2011
    Excerpt: As Dr. Will Provine has said, “[as an atheist] you give up hope that there is an imminent morality … you can’t hope for there being any free will [and there is] … no ultimate foundation for ethics.”
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-adam-jacobs/atheisms-odd-relationship_b_839352.html

    And yet on the other hand, as David Wood puts it in the following article, By declaring that suffering is evil, (as they do in their argument from evil), atheists have admitted that there is an objective moral standard by which we distinguish good and evil.

    Responding to the Argument From Evil: Three Approaches for the Theist – By David Wood
    Excerpt: Interestingly enough, proponents of AE grant this premise in the course of their argument. By declaring that suffering is evil, atheists have admitted that there is an objective moral standard by which we distinguish good and evil. Amazingly, then, even as atheists make their case against the existence of God, they actually help us prove that God exists!,,,
    https://www.namb.net/apologetics/responding-to-the-argument-from-evil-three-approaches-for-the-theist

    Thus, in their “Argument from Evil” atheists have inadvertently conceded the existence of a objective moral standard to judge by and have, once again, refuted Atheistic Materialism in the process.

    Simply put, if good and evil really do exist, as the atheist holds in his argument from evil, then God must necessarily exist!

    If Good and Evil Exist, God Exists: – Peter Kreeft – Prager University – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xliyujhwhNM

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    And as Michael Egnor states in the following article, “Even to raise the problem of evil is to tacitly acknowledge transcendent standards, and thus to acknowledge God’s existence. From that starting point, theodicy begins. Theists have explored it profoundly. Atheists lack the standing even to ask the question.,,,”

    The Universe Reflects a Mind – Michael Egnor – February 28, 2018
    Excerpt: Goff argues that a Mind is manifest in the natural world, but he discounts the existence of God because of the problem of evil. Goff seriously misunderstands the problem of evil. Evil is an insoluble problem for atheists, because if there is no God, there is no objective standard by which evil and good can exist or can even be defined. If God does not exist, “good” and “evil” are merely human opinions. Yet we all know, as Kant observed, that some things are evil in themselves, and not merely as a matter of opinion. Even to raise the problem of evil is to tacitly acknowledge transcendent standards, and thus to acknowledge God’s existence. From that starting point, theodicy begins. Theists have explored it profoundly. Atheists lack the standing even to ask the question.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/02/the-universe-reflects-a-mind/

    C.S Lewis, a former atheist who converted to Christianity, clearly puts the fatal flaw inherent in the argument from evil like this: “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?,,, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?,,,
    ,,, in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist–in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless–I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality–namely my idea of justice–was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
    – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. Harper San Francisco, Zondervan Publishing House, 2001, pp. 38-39.

    Moreover the specific philosophical claim from atheists that “There exist a large number of horrible forms of evil and suffering for which we can see no greater purpose or compensating good.”

    The Problem of Evil: Still A Strong Argument for Atheism – 2015
    Excerpt:,,, the problem of evil, one of the main arguments against the existence of an all-good and all-knowing God.,,,
    P1. There exist a large number of horrible forms of evil and suffering for which we can see no greater purpose or compensating good.
    P2. If an all-powerful, all-good God existed, then such horrific, apparently purposeless evils would not exist.
    C. Therefore, an all-powerful, all-good God does not exist.
    https://thegodlesstheist.com/2015/10/13/the-problem-of-evil-still-a-strong-argument-for-atheism/

    ,,, that particular philosophical claim from Atheists is directly refuted in Christian Theology by what is termed the “Beatific (BE A TIF IC) Vision” of heaven: That is to say, and as the following article shows, that the argument from evil is refuted by the perfect salvation (of our immortal souls) and/or by the existence of Heaven.”,,, As Saint Paul once said, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

    This Theologian Has An Answer To Atheists’ Claims That Evil Disproves God – Jan, 2018
    Excerpt: In “The Last Superstition: A Refutation Of The New Atheism,” Feser, echoing Thomas Aquinas, notes that the first premise of the problem of evil is “simply false, or at least unjustifiable.” According to Feser, there is no reason to believe that the Christian God, being all-good and all-powerful, would prevent suffering on this earth if out of suffering he could bring about a good that is far greater than any that would have existed otherwise. If God is infinite in power, knowledge, goodness, etc., then of course he could bring about such a good.
    Feser demonstrates his reasoning with an analogy. A parent may allow his child a small amount of suffering in frustration, sacrifice of time, and minor pain when learning to play the violin, in order to bring about the good of establishing proficiency. This is not to say that such minimal suffering is in any way comparable to the horrors that have gone on in this world. But the joy of establishing proficiency with a violin is not in any way comparable to the good that God promises to bring to the world.
    In Christian theology, this good is referred to as the Beatific Vision: the ultimate, direct self-communication of God to the individual. In other words, perfect salvation or Heaven. Feser describes the Beatific Vision as a joy so great that even the most terrible horror imaginable “pales in insignificance before the beatific vision.” As Saint Paul once said, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
    Your Argument Assumes Its Conclusion
    I can already see the disciples of the Four Horsemen readying their keyboards, opening a copy of Dawkins’ “The God Delusion,” and preparing their response. An atheist may claim that he cannot possibly imagine anything in the next life that could possibly outweigh the Holocaust, children’s suffering, or any other instance of significant suffering in this world. According to Feser, this response is precisely the reason he states that the problem of evil is “worthless” as an objection to arguments in favor of the existence of the Christian God.
    The problem is that the only way the atheist can claim that nothing could outweigh the most significant suffering on earth is if he supposes that God does not exist and therefore there is no Beatific Vision. But he cannot presume that God does not exist in the premise of an argument that aims to prove the conclusion that God does not exist. By doing so, he is begging the question, or arguing in a circle, and therefore does not prove anything at all.
    As Feser goes on to demonstrate, the atheist is essentially stating: “There is no God, because look at all this suffering that no good could possibly outweigh. How do I know there’s no good that could outweigh it? Oh, because there is no God.”
    http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....oves-gods/

    IMHO, the atheist’s supposedly powerful ‘argument from evil’ simply withers in the face of Christian theology:

    The Problem of Evil by Benjamin D. Wiker – April 2009
    Excerpt: We still want to cry, Job-like, to those inscrutable depths, “Who are you to orchestrate everything around us puny and pitiable creatures, leaving us shuddering in the darkness, ignorant, blasted, and buffeted? It‘s all well and good to say, ‘Trust me! It‘ll all be made right in the end,‘ while you float unscathed above it all. Grinding poverty, hunger, thirst, frustration, rejection, toil, death of our loved ones, blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation — that‘s the meal we‘re served! You‘d sing a different tune if you were one of us and got a taste of your own medicine.”
    What could we say against these depths if the answer we received was not an argument but an incarnation, a full and free submission by God to the very evils about which we complain? This submission would be a kind of token, a sign that evil is very real indeed, bringing the incarnate God blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation on the cross. As real as such evil is, however, the resurrection reveals that it is somehow mysteriously comprehended within the divine plan.
    With the Incarnation, the reality of evil is absorbed into the deity, not dissolved into thin air, because God freely tastes the bitterness of the medicine as wounded healer, not distant doctor. Further, given the drastic nature of this solution, we begin to recognize that God takes the problem of evil more seriously than we could ever have taken it ourselves. ,,,
    http://www.crisismagazine.com/.....em-of-evil

    Indeed, on the cross God himself uses evil against itself in order to bring about a much greater good:

    “He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”
    ~James Stewart~
    ———————————
    “It is a glorious phrase of the New Testament, that ‘he led captivity captive.’
    The very triumphs of His foes, it means, he used for their defeat. He compelled their dark achievements to sub-serve his end, not theirs.
    They nailed him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to his feet.
    They gave him a cross, not guessing that he would make it a throne.
    They flung him outside the gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up all the gates of the universe, to let the King of Glory come in.
    They thought to root out his doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy.
    They thought they had defeated God with His back (to) the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down.
    He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”
    James Stewart (1896–1990) was a minister of the Church of Scotland

    Thus Steve, it simply is not true that Barry does not give the atheist ample opportunity to deny the reality of objective morality. Shoot, he actively encourages them to deny that ” “the Holocaust was evil.”

    Barry’s main point has always been that the atheist himself does not and cannot live his life as if his atheistic materialism were actually true.

    And indeed, as was shown, even one of the most powerful (self refuting) arguments from atheists, i.e the argument from evil itself, presupposes the existence of objective morality.

  26. 26
    ET says:

    steve h- to a-mats there isn’t any evil. Whatever you do is OK.

  27. 27
    Barry Arrington says:

    Steve_h @ 23:
    So you believe the Holocaust was evil. Good for you. Is it possible for someone to disagree with you and be correct?

  28. 28
    steve_h says:

    BA77
    Barry specific response to the atheist’s denial of an absolute moral standard is to point out the fact that the atheist’s own life testifies against the atheist’s claim that there is no absolute moral standard.

    No it doesn’t. The lack of an absolute moral standard does not imply that I have to act in a particular way. An absolute moral standard might say that I must act one way, but the lack of one doesn’t mean that I must do the exact opposite. Only in the craziest strawmen arguments of Theists do a lack of belief in external object morality imply a requirement to go around murdering, torturing and raping.

    I also see no problem with me describing something as evil even though I don’t believe in a absolute external standard. I generally consider things to be evil if they involve deliberate harm or death. I think these are among the worst things that can be done to a person and that’s a reason why we might use convenient umbrella terms to categorize them and to want to avoid being victims of them. If we were to discuss other areas such as homosexuality, it would be perfectly obvious that our ideas of what it means to be evil are very different indeed. Some overlap does not amount to an admission of an external object standard, so most of your other points are moot.

    Arguments from evil do not amount to admissions of objective morality. They are based on showing discrepancies in the views of Theists, when things that they would normally be quick to denounce as evil are swept under the carpet when considering God’s alleged actions or lack thereof. Asking what would happen if something were true so not the same as saying it actually is true.

    Barry.

    So you believe the Holocaust was evil. Good for you. Is it possible for someone to disagree with you and be correct?

    To me the Holocaust is the epitome of what it means to be evil – as I understand it – so I it would not be possible for me to reconcile thier view with mine. That doesn’t make Morality absolute – nor does any number of other people agreeing with me.

  29. 29
    ET says:

    Steve_H:

    I generally consider things to be evil if they involve deliberate harm or death.

    Most likely only because you were brought up in a like-minded society- a society founded on the principles of one of the major world religions. Otherwise there would be no reason to view harm or death as anything but nature doing its thing.

  30. 30
    Ed George says:

    ET

    Most likely only because you were brought up in a like-minded society- a society founded on the principles of one of the major world religions. Otherwise there would be no reason to view harm or death as anything but nature doing its thing.

    That assumes that we were not gifted the ability to reason for ourselves and make informed decisions.

  31. 31
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    That assumes that we were not gifted the ability to reason for ourselves and make informed decisions.

    Quite the contrary. It assumes that because we are gifted with the ability to reason for ourselves and make informed decisions, that living organisms were intelligently designed and as such worthy of respect. Which would mean taking of a life should only be done after careful consideration.

    That said, there aren’t any such gifts with respect to materialism.

  32. 32
    bornagain77 says:

    Steve_h, states:

    Barry specific response to the atheist’s denial of an absolute moral standard is to point out the fact that the atheist’s own life testifies against the atheist’s claim that there is no absolute moral standard.
    No it doesn’t. The lack of an absolute moral standard does not imply that I have to act in a particular way. An absolute moral standard might say that I must act one way, but the lack of one doesn’t mean that I must do the exact opposite. Only in the craziest strawmen arguments of Theists do a lack of belief in external object morality imply a requirement to go around murdering, torturing and raping.

    The blindingly obvious point you missed is that NOBODY, especially including the atheist himself, acts as if there were no absolute moral standard. In fact the argument I put forth specifically entails that it is impossible for the atheist to live his life CONSISTENTLY as if morality did not exist. ,,, It is similar to someone suffering from the delusion that he is Napoleon. He may imagine with all his heart that he is Napoleon but the fact that he cannot live his life consistently as if he were actually Napoleon is what provides the proof that he is not Napoleon. So it is with the atheist’s delusion that he lives in a amoral world. i.e. The world itself testifies against his delusion.

    You then state:

    I also see no problem with me describing something as evil even though I don’t believe in a absolute external standard. I generally consider things to be evil if they involve deliberate harm or death. I think these are among the worst things that can be done to a person and that’s a reason why we might use convenient umbrella terms to categorize them and to want to avoid being victims of them.

    So in your view you are free to admit to an absolute moral standard but deny that such a thing exists? Rationalize much?

    “Yet our common moral knowledge is as real as arithmetic, and probably just as plain. Paradoxically, maddeningly, we appeal to it even to justify wrongdoing; rationalization is the homage paid by sin to guilty knowledge.”
    – J. Budziszewski, What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide

    You then state:

    If we were to discuss other areas such as homosexuality, it would be perfectly obvious that our ideas of what it means to be evil are very different indeed. Some overlap does not amount to an admission of an external object standard, so most of your other points are moot.

    Actually, your rationalization about sexual immorality explains quite a lot as to why you would even try to make the absurd claim that morality does not exist:

    “I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.”
    – Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means

    Moreover, in the following article, Jonathan McLatchie states that the Moral Argument for the Existence of God is a robust argument and that critics of the argument often make the same fundamental mistakes in addressing the argument. Specifically he states, the moral argument is a robust argument for the existence of God. It is important to distinguish between moral ontology and epistemology when engaging in this debate since these categories are frequently conflated by atheist critics.

    The Moral Argument for the Existence of God by Jonathan McLatchie – July 17, 2012
    Conclusion
    In conclusion, the moral argument is a robust argument for the existence of God. It is important to distinguish between moral ontology and epistemology when engaging in this debate since these categories are frequently conflated by atheist critics. Humans, being shaped in the image of God, have an intuitive sense of right and wrong. It is not at all clear how the atheist, except at the expense of moral realism, can maintain an objective standard of ethics without such a being as God as his ontological foundation.
    http://crossexamined.org/312/

    You then state:

    Arguments from evil do not amount to admissions of objective morality. They are based on showing discrepancies in the views of Theists, when things that they would normally be quick to denounce as evil are swept under the carpet when considering God’s alleged actions or lack thereof. Asking what would happen if something were true so not the same as saying it actually is true.

    I don’t care what you personally believe. I only care what the argument from evil itself assumes in its premises. The argument from evil itself assumes objective morality in its premises and thus fails, rather catastrophically, as a logically valid argument against the reality of objective morality. ,,, It ain’t rocket science!

    To provide further proof for objective morality on top of this philosophical argumentation I will now appeal to empirical evidence:

    Since unguided Darwinian processes have never shown the origination of a even a single gene and/or protein, as these following references show,,,

    Stephen Meyer (and Doug Axe) Critique Richard Dawkins’s “Mount Improbable” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rgainpMXa8

    Yockey and a Calculator Versus Evolutionists – Cornelius Hunter PhD – September 25, 2015
    Excerpt: In a 1977 paper published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, Hubert Yockey used information theory to evaluate the likelihood of the evolution of a relatively simple protein.,,,
    Yockey found that the probability of evolution finding the cytochrome c protein sequence is about one in 10^64. That is a one followed by 64 zeros—an astronomically large number. He concluded in the peer-reviewed paper that the belief that proteins appeared spontaneously “is based on faith.”
    Indeed, Yockey’s early findings are in line with, though a bit more conservative than, later findings. A 1990 study of a small, simple protein found that 10^63 attempts would be required for evolution to find the protein.
    A 2004 study found that 10^64 to 10^77 attempts are required, and a 2006 study concluded that 10^70 attempts would be required.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ersus.html

    Dan S. Tawfik Group – The New View of Proteins – Tyler Hampton – 2016
    Excerpt: Tawfik soberly recognizes the problem. The appearance of early protein families, he has remarked, is “something like close to a miracle.”45,,,
    “In fact, to our knowledge,” Tawfik and Tóth-Petróczy write, “no macromutations … that gave birth to novel proteins have yet been identified.”69
    http://inference-review.com/ar.....f-proteins

    ,,, Since unguided Darwinian processes have never shown the origination of a even a single gene and/or protein,,, then it is very interesting to note that the gene expression of humans are designed in a very sophisticated way so as to differentiate between hedonic moral happiness and ‘noble’ moral happiness: The following paper states that there are hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,, “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”

    Human Cells Respond in Healthy, Unhealthy Ways to Different Kinds of Happiness – July 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health,,,
    The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found.,,,
    But if all happiness is created equal, and equally opposite to ill-being, then patterns of gene expression should be the same regardless of hedonic or eudaimonic well-being. Not so, found the researchers.
    Eudaimonic well-being was, indeed, associated with a significant decrease in the stress-related CTRA gene expression profile. In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with a significant increase in the CTRA profile. Their genomics-based analyses, the authors reported, reveal the hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,,
    “We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically,” she said. “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....161952.htm

    Moreover, and as would be expected if morality were objectively real as Christians hold, it is now found that atheists suffer physically and mentally as a result of forsaking the objective reality of morality in general and from forsaking God in particular. Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists states that ‘The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally.’,,, lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction…

    “I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface
    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA100#v=onepage&q&f=false

    And the following meta-analysis of studies found that Active religious involvement increased the chance of living longer by some 29%, and participation in public religious practices, such as church attendance, increased the chance of living longer by 43%.

    Atheism and health
    A meta-analysis of all studies, both published and unpublished, relating to religious involvement and longevity was carried out in 2000. Forty-two studies were included, involving some 126,000 subjects. Active religious involvement increased the chance of living longer by some 29%, and participation in public religious practices, such as church attendance, increased the chance of living longer by 43%.[4][5]
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_health

    Can attending church really help you live longer? This study says yes – June 1, 2017
    Excerpt: Specifically, the study says those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%. The Plos One journal published the “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults” study May 16.
    “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did who attended church at some point over the last year,” Bruce said.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/02/can-attending-church-really-help-you-live-longer-study-says-yes/364375001/

  33. 33
    bornagain77 says:

    To provide further proof for the reality of morality, the following study establishes the objective reality of morality by showing that ‘Moral evaluations of harm are quote unquote ‘instant and emotional’:

    Moral evaluations of harm are instant and emotional, brain study shows – November 29, 2012
    Excerpt: People are able to detect, within a split second, if a hurtful action they are witnessing is intentional or accidental, new research on the brain at the University of Chicago shows.
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/.....brain.html

    Moreover, the following studies actually show that our moral intuition itself transcends space and time: Specifically, in the following study, They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared

    Quantum Consciousness – Time Flies Backwards? – Stuart Hameroff MD
    Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual….). In Radin and Bierman’s early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared.
    http://www.quantumconsciousnes.....Flies.html

    And in the following meta-analysis of 26 reports published between 1978 and 2010, the researchers found that your body can anticipate morally troubling situations between two and 10 seconds before it happens

    Can Your Body Sense Future Events Without Any External Clue? (meta-analysis of 26 reports published between 1978 and 2010) – (Oct. 22, 2012)
    Excerpt: “A person playing a video game at work while wearing headphones, for example, can’t hear when his or her boss is coming around the corner.
    But our analysis suggests that if you were tuned into your body, you might be able to detect these anticipatory changes between two and 10 seconds beforehand,,,
    This phenomenon is sometimes called “presentiment,” as in “sensing the future,” but Mossbridge said she and other researchers are not sure whether people are really sensing the future.
    “I like to call the phenomenon ‘anomalous anticipatory activity,'” she said. “The phenomenon is anomalous, some scientists argue, because we can’t explain it using present-day understanding about how biology works; though explanations related to recent quantum biological findings could potentially make sense. It’s anticipatory because it seems to predict future physiological changes in response to an important event without any known clues, and it’s an activity because it consists of changes in the cardiopulmonary, skin and nervous systems.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....145342.htm

    Moreover, in the preceding paper one of the researchers remarked that ‘we can’t explain (the anticipatory activity of the body) using present-day understanding about how biology works; though explanations related to recent quantum biological findings could potentially make sense.’… And, exactly as she thought, quantum biological findings do indeed shed light how it might be possible for the body to anticipate morally troubling situations before they happen. In fact, as this following video shows,,

    Darwinian Materialism vs Quantum Biology – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHdD2Am1g5Y

    ,,,findings in quantum biology go much further and gives us strong physical evidence that humans possess a transcendent component to their being on the molecular level that is not reducible to materialistic explanations.

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”
    http://www.quantumlah.org/high.....uences.php

    That is to say, findings from quantum biology now give us experimental evidence strongly suggesting we do indeed have a transcendent ‘soul’ that is capable of living beyond the death of our material bodies just as Christians have held all along.

    And finally, the atheist’s denial is far broader than just their denial of objective morality. On top of denying objective morality, the atheist also denies that our lives have any objective Meaning, Value or Purpose.

    Atheistic Materialism vs Meaning, Value, and Purpose in Our Lives – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqUxBSbFhog

    And again, the fact that atheists themselves live their lives as if their lives actually did have Meaning, Value, and Purpose is proof that the atheist’s claim is false: i.e. that their denial “is actually an exercise in self-delusion”

    The Absurdity of Life without God – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Meaning of Life
    Without God, there can be no objective meaning in life. Sartre’s program is actually an exercise in self-delusion. Sartre is really saying, “Let’s pretend the universe has meaning.” And this is just fooling ourselves.
    The point is this: if God does not exist, then life is objectively meaningless; but man cannot live consistently and happily knowing that life is meaningless; so in order to be happy he pretends life has meaning. But this is, of course, entirely inconsistent—for without God, man and the universe are without any real significance.
    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/existence-nature-of-god/the-absurdity-of-life-without-god/

    Bottom line, the atheist’s worldview suffers catastrophic failure on both the philosophical and empirical fronts.

    Whereas Theism is, once again, sitting rather nicely in regards to both.

    Frankly, I have no clue what atheists find so appealing about their Nihilistic, hopeless, worldview, It is much like a man being offered unlimited riches but he chooses instead to live in a sewer.

    Verse:

    1 Corinthians 2:9
    But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

  34. 34
    Ed George says:

    ET@31, sorry, but that doesn’t make any sense. You are making a circular argument.

  35. 35
    ET says:

    Ed George @ 34- Whatever. Until you make your case you are clearly just trolling. Maybe you will catch an Acartia Bogart/ William spearshake- or any other one of your socks.

    Your continued cowardly claims of circular arguments is duly noted

    Good luck with that

  36. 36
    Ed George says:

    BA77@33, all I can say is, “read more”.

  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    ET at 35, agreed, he is just trolling,,,,,, reincarnated troll with a short life expectancy is my bet.

  38. 38
    Ed George says:

    et

    Your continued cowardly claims of circular arguments is duly noted.

    But not addressed.

  39. 39
    ET says:

    Ed George @ 38- Until you actually make a case there isn’t anything to address. The “Hitchen’s gambit” applies:

    What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    Dismissed. Come back if you ever have the courage to ante up.

  40. 40
    ET says:

    The selective quoting of Ed George- I had posted the following in response to Ed’s false claim that I used a circular argument:

    Whatever. Until you make your case you are clearly just trolling. Maybe you will catch an Acartia Bogart/ William spearshake- or any other one of your socks.

    Your continued cowardly claims of circular arguments is duly noted

    Good luck with that

    Ed, in all his glory, trimmed that down to:

    Your continued cowardly claims of circular arguments is duly noted, and responded with:

    But not addressed.

    It was addressed in the quote that you mined. This part:

    Whatever. Until you make your case you are clearly just trolling. Maybe you will catch an Acartia Bogart/ William spearshake- or any other one of your socks.

    Your other socks do the exact same thing…

  41. 41
    Barry Arrington says:

    Barry.

    So you believe the Holocaust was evil. Good for you. Is it possible for someone to disagree with you and be correct?

    SteveH

    To me the Holocaust is the epitome of what it means to be evil – as I understand it – so I it would not be possible for me to reconcile thier view with mine. That doesn’t make Morality absolute – nor does any number of other people agreeing with me.

    Everyone noticed that you refused to state whether it is possible for someone to disagree with you and be correct.

    I will ask one more time. You believe the Holocaust was evil. Is it possible for someone to disagree with you and be correct?

  42. 42
    ET says:

    Barry, That is not a question steve can google for an answer, although he tried. Please stop over-taxing your guests. 😉

  43. 43
    Ed George says:

    ET@40, this is the second time you have accused me of being Acartia bogart/William Spearshake, whoever they are. I assume the latter is a twist on Shakespear. The only thing I know about the former is that the first part of his name is a marine crustacean, and the second part was a famous actor.

    All I did was suggest that your argument was circular, which I think it is. Let’s step back and review:

    Steve said

    I generally consider things to be evil if they involve deliberate harm or death.

    A reasonable statement. For which you responded:

    Most likely only because you were brought up in a like-minded society- a society founded on the principles of one of the major world religions

    Another reasonable statement, but not supported with any evidence. I responded with:

    That assumes that we were not gifted the ability to reason for ourselves and make informed decisions.

    Which is a reasonable response. If we could reason for ourselves and make informed decisions, regardless of how we were brought up, is it not also likely that we would, on average, make decisions that were good for society?

    You then responded:

    Quite the contrary. It assumes that because we are gifted with the ability to reason for ourselves and make informed decisions, that living organisms were intelligently designed and as such worthy of respect. Which would mean taking of a life should only be done after careful consideration.

    Which is where your circular argument surfaced. If we were gifted with these capabilities, of course we were designed. That was implicit in my earlier statement.

    That said, there aren’t any such gifts with respect to materialism.

    Non-sequitur, as I am not a materialist.

    Frankly, I don’t know why you are so upset with what I said. We are both arguing the same thing, we are just disagreeing on when the design occurred.

    And, somewhere in there, BA77 said some things.

  44. 44
    Seversky says:

    Kairosfocus @ 19
    We’ve been over this ground before but “Once more unto the breach…”

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    I think the concept of self-evident truths outside formal systems like mathematics or logic is problematical but, regardless, since my view is that moral claims can be neither true nor false there can be no self-evident moral truths.

    This does not preclude the possibility that there are acts, such as the rape and murder of a child, which almost everyone can agree is most egregiously immoral. You can say it is self-evidently immoral to us but is it self-evident in any universal sense?

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force.

    We certainly observe that in most if not all human societies codes of what is acceptable behavior emerge which people feel compelled to live by and which they feel bad about when they don’t observe.

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding.

    It would only be delusional if there were an insistence that the sense of conscience were a manifestation of some natural moral law for which we could find no objective evidence.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    Or we could take the pragmatic view that members of a society find that certain behaviors and attitudes are beneficial to their society and that there is a practical advantage to all in observing them

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    Do we need the assumption of some natural moral law – for which we have no compelling evidence – or does what we might call enlightened self- and social-interest suffice?

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world-understanding in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level.

    So the real reason for presuming a natural moral law is to provide an IS in which to ground all OUGHTS which could not otherwise be so grounded?

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more

    An avalanche does not recognize a human right to life, a bolt of lightning does not recognize a human right to life, a volcano does not recognize a human right to life. As far as we can tell, only human beings acknowledge a human right to life and then try to argue an added authority for it by claiming the existence of a natural moral law in which such rights are grounded.

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    If that’s a roundabout way of saying that what are agreed to be universal human rights should not be lightly or easily abridged or repealed then I would agree.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd

    I do not advocate or defend nihilism. However, I am always suspicious of any invocation of self-evidence as it seems to me it is all too often both a maneuver to avoid providing adequate warrant or justification for a claim and a way of implying some objective basis for a moral claim.

    We all agree that the torture and murder of a young child is one of the most abhorrent, wicked, evil acts imaginable. We also know that there are some other species in which the adults will, on occasion, kill and even eat the young. But while we might find that shocking and disgusting, we don’t judge it to be wicked or evil. Following from that, is it too much of a stretch to envisage some highly-advanced alien race that would look upon the torture and murder of a human child with the same detachment as we look upon the behaviors of other animals? In other words, what is self-evident to us may not be so to others so are we justified in calling it self-evident?

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. In short, nihilistic will to power untempered by the primacy of justice is its own refutation in any type of state. Where, justice is the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities.

    The proper duty of government is to protect and uphold the interests and well-being of all the governed, which includes the provision of a fair and impartial system of justice.

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    Agreed

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. As, has been seen in outline. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.

    The problem is not over the value of a “general framework of moral governance” but over the source, legitimacy and authority of such a framework. Is it something we can and do create for ourselves as the potential subjects of such a framework or is it something that has to be outsourced to some other being or authority because some have such a low opinion of humanity as to believe we are not capable of such a thing ourselves?

  45. 45
    ET says:

    Ed, you have it all wrong, as usual

    I generally consider things to be evil if they involve deliberate harm or death.

    A reasonable statement.

    Not coming from a materialist, such as steve. It is all nature doing what nature does.

    Most likely only because you were brought up in a like-minded society- a society founded on the principles of one of the major world religions

    Another reasonable statement, but not supported with any evidence.

    It’s well supported by the evidence. The bulk of the world’s population was and is still religious.

    Then you went off:

    That assumes that we were not gifted the ability to reason for ourselves and make informed decisions.

    Which I showed to be total nonsense. You don’t get to tell me what I am saying, duh

    If we could reason for ourselves and make informed decisions, regardless of how we were brought up, is it not also likely that we would, on average, make decisions that were good for society?

    No. And what is allegedly good for society may not be good for the people. The Nazi’s thought they were helping society- Mau, Pol Pot, Stalin- all thought they were helping society. Clearly you didn’t think that one through

    Quite the contrary. It assumes that because we are gifted with the ability to reason for ourselves and make informed decisions, that living organisms were intelligently designed and as such worthy of respect. Which would mean taking of a life should only be done after careful consideration.

    Which is where your circular argument surfaced. If we were gifted with these capabilities, of course we were designed. That was implicit in my earlier statement.

    That wasn’t the argument. What is wrong with you? The argument is because we were so gifted that living organisms are worthy of respect. Which would mean taking of a life should only be done after careful consideration

    That said, there aren’t any such gifts with respect to materialism.

    Non-sequitur, as I am not a materialist.

    Steve- the context was my discussion with STEVE.

  46. 46
    Ed George says:

    ET: That said, there aren’t any such gifts with respect to materialism.

    EG: Non-sequitur, as I am not a materialist.

    ET: Steve- the context was my discussion with STEVE.

    .

    Strange, that you made this comment in a comment to me #31, for your reference. Just scroll up several thousand words through BA77’s comments. You should be able to find it. 🙂

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, 44.

    Notice, how you inadvertently inserted a presumption that shifted the goal-posts? That’s a signature of a worldview driving conclusions.

    So, back to first principles: self-evidence is about start-points for warrant, in effect asking where is it that we are forced to accept premises antecedent to onward warrant, on which warrant builds. Thus, the concept that we come to the question with world-experiences and as going concern thinkers. Warrant cannot be chained forever or go in futile circles, so are there yardsticks that are naturally present? Yes, there are things which (once we understand) we see are so, are necessarily so and are necessarily so on pain pf patent, immediate absurdity on the attempted denial. That is, some sort of self-defeating explosion happens if we try to deny them.

    Notice, that is broader than self-referential incoherence, precisely because we need something broader than that case, to operate in the world as responsible, rational thinkers.

    For example, the project of responsible persuasive argument presumes known duty to truth, right reason, fairness etc. Try the denial of such duties and you reduce reasoned discussion to nihilistic, cynical manipulation by the more clever and ruthless, utterly corroding the fabric of society and undermining human thriving. Explosion. In a world of message dominance by irresponsible manipulation, there is no basis for reasonable discussion, only for suspicion and polarisation. (Resemblance to current political discourse and the media across our civilisation is NOT coincidental.)

    This immediately means that rational life is inextricably entangled with moral duties, the responsibility that we have mentioned.

    Now, that is not a proof, but it is a test of insight and good sense, AKA wisdom.

    Let us come back to moral SET 1 (and 2): moral government attested to by the inner witness of conscience.

    The testimony of conscience to duties violated or sometimes to duties fulfilled even at terrible cost, is an integral aspect of our conscious self-awareness. We cannot effectively deny its presence or influence in general, and for cause regard those with deadened or defective consciences as monstrous or at least severely damaged.

    It cannot be denied, it is a commonplace of our common experience of the world. And, it is inextricably entangled with our rational enterprises as they pivot on known, acknowledged, expected conscious (and sub conscious) awareness of duties to truth and right reason, fairness etc.

    Acknowledging this is a necessary start point for not only reasoning on moral subjects but on general topics.

    Where, of course, conscience is a testimony not a legislator. We also know that it can be dulled or deadened, or even overly sensitive. The roots of duty lie elsewhere.

    And post-Hume we know that elsewhere must only lie at the world-root or else we face fatal groundlessness, including for our project of collective reasoning and knowledge-building through adequate warrant.

    Conscience is indeed a first and self-evident moral truth.

    KF

  48. 48
  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev,

    Let me just clip-comment for the rest of your comment at 44, bearing in mind that the focus here is on getting at what truth is:

    >> [KF,] 4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    Or we could take the pragmatic view that members of a society find that certain behaviors and attitudes are beneficial to their society >>

    1 –> for centuries, that enslaving some people provides general benefits and that it is especially handy if they have clear racial markers of their status?

    2 –> That is, we see here the implication of cultural relativism, that the would-be reformer is automatically in the wrong.

    >> and that there is a practical advantage to all in observing them>>

    3 –> All, or all who have enough power to count? (I point to the slippery slope reality at work.)

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    Do we need the assumption of some natural moral law – for which we have no compelling evidence>>

    4 –> This slips in the selective hyperskepticism fallacy. Sorry, you do not get a skeptic’s veto esp. on a matter where your case must pivot on our acknowledging duties to truth, right reason, fairness etc.

    >> – or does what we might call enlightened self- and social-interest suffice?>>

    5 –> See the morally freighted terms “enlightened” and “interest” along with the hint of obligation to do good by neighbour?

    >> 6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world-understanding in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level.

    So the real reason for presuming a natural moral law is to provide an IS in which to ground all OUGHTS which could not otherwise be so grounded?>>

    6 –> Cart before the horse, multiplied by prejudice against theism.

    7 –> We find that argument and reasoning are inextricably entangled with generally acknowledged, implicit duties to truth, right reason, fairness etc. This requires a search for how that unity could ever come about.

    8 –> Post Hume, that can only be at world root. That is, we need the inherently good as the IS at world root, to have a world in which reason is not inextricably entangled with a grand delusional perception of meaningless duty.

    9 –> I/l/o possible worlds perspective that IS needs to be necessary (independent of other beings . . . this is the root of reality) and present in the fabric for any world to be. Linked, maximally great (or else not the root).

    10 –> This leads to a fairly familiar being, one who is most unwelcome in today’s radically secularist and angrily anti-Christian age.

    >> 7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more

    An avalanche does not recognize a human right to life, a bolt of lightning does not recognize a human right to life, a volcano does not recognize a human right to life. >>

    11 –> Notice, how you resorted to entities that are inanimate, lacking minds and thus lacking moral government?

    12 –> A clue.

    >>As far as we can tell, only human beings acknowledge a human right to life and then try to argue an added authority for it by claiming the existence of a natural moral law in which such rights are grounded.>>

    13 –> Cart before horse again. We recognise a right to life because we are inescapably morally governed and recognise that others who share the like nature must also be respected.

    >> 8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    If that’s a roundabout way of saying that what are agreed to be universal human rights should not be lightly or easily abridged or repealed then I would agree.>>

    14 –> Notice, imposition of cultural norming? And, where that goes?

    >> 9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd

    I do not advocate or defend nihilism. However, I am always suspicious of any invocation of self-evidence as it seems to me it is all too often both a maneuver to avoid providing adequate warrant or justification for a claim>>

    15 –> Do you not see that some things are so pervasive and undeniably so on pain of absurdity that we CANNOT warrant them, they are going to be embedded in any attempted warrant?

    16 –> Distinct identity thus LOI, LNC and LEM are clear cases in point, just think of how impossible our exchange would be apart from the distinct identity of alphanumerical characters.

    >> and a way of implying some objective basis for a moral claim.>>

    17 –> Cart before the horse, you clearly imply that there can be no warrant beyond subjective opinion (and community “agreement” however arrived at) for moral claims. But in fact apart from duties to truth, right reason, fairness etc, there can be no basis for reasoning responsibly thus objectively.

    18 –> Objective also impliues that some truths are warranted independent of individual or community-dominant opinion.

    19 –> The very notion, warrant, reeks of morally tinged justification.

    >>We all agree that the torture and murder of a young child is one of the most abhorrent, wicked, evil acts imaginable. >>

    20 –> notice, agreement vs warrant.

    >>We also know that there are some other species in which the adults will, on occasion, kill and even eat the young. But while we might find that shocking and disgusting, we don’t judge it to be wicked or evil. >>

    21 –> Precisely because we understand that such creatures are not responsibly and rationally free, thus morally governed. And, we do not ever want our society to go there.

    22 –> Hence the horror that greeted the presence of cannibalism in the Pacific islands.

    >>Following from that, is it too much of a stretch to envisage some highly-advanced alien race that would look upon the torture and murder of a human child with the same detachment as we look upon the behaviors of other animals?>>

    23 –> Such aliens would be rejecting our responsible, rationally free, morally governed nature; hence, War of the Worlds in its opening passage, hence the Kzinti and the invading dragon-like or spider-like creatures in much of sci fi.

    24 –> Thus, such aliens (and those who have pretended to be a master-race or a superman elite class) show themselves morally defective.

    >>In other words, what is self-evident to us may not be so to others so are we justified in calling it self-evident?>>

    25 –> Descent to and even clinging to absurdity does not remove self-evidence, it just shows how grossly warped some can be.

    >> 10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. In short, nihilistic will to power untempered by the primacy of justice is its own refutation in any type of state. Where, justice is the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities.

    The proper duty of government is to protect and uphold the interests and well-being of all the governed, which includes the provision of a fair and impartial system of justice.>>

    26 –> You recognise the primacy of justice

    >> 11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    Agreed>>

    27 –> Again.

    >> 12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. As, has been seen in outline. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.

    The problem is not over the value of a “general framework of moral governance” but over the source, >>

    28 –> source or root is the heart of the structure of such a framework.

    >>legitimacy and authority of such a framework.>>

    29 –> Legitimacy and authority are morally entangled. Self evidence surfaces again.

    >> Is it something we can and do create for ourselves as the potential subjects of such a framework or is it something that has to be outsourced to some other being or authority because some have such a low opinion of humanity as to believe we are not capable of such a thing ourselves?>>

    30 –> We are no more capable of escaping moral government than we are of escaping the force of the principle of distinct identity and its corollaries, LOI, LNC, LEM, Number etc.

    KF

  50. 50
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    Strange, that you made this comment in a comment to me #31, for your reference.

    Yes and the CONTEXT was my discussion with steve_h.

  51. 51
    steve_h says:

    BA77

    The blindingly obvious point you missed is that NOBODY, especially including the atheist himself, acts as if there were no absolute moral standard.

    Yes, you already said, and I still disagree. I don’t know how the arrangement of our molucules allows us to think and feel things but it’s clear that we can. Given that we do feel pain and seem hard-wired (possibly by evolution) to want to avoid pain and death are that we are also able to reason, I don’t see any reason why we might not come up with own conventions to help us avoid those things. Other animals also seem to try to avoid pain and/or death and they can’t all have learned it at Sunday school.

    BA77

    So in your view you are free to admit to an absolute moral standard but deny that such a thing exists? Rationalize much?

    At no point have I written (or admitted) that there is an absolute moral standard. Perhaps that was your interpretation of some things I wrote about my personal beliefs. My beliefs are just my beliefs (I wouldn’t characterise them as “mere” as I have put some effort into formulating them and it’s amazing that anyone can do this, but they are in no way binding on other Humans and/or the universe in general)
    BA

    Everyone noticed that you refused to state whether it is possible for someone to disagree with you and be correct.

    I will ask one more time. You believe the Holocaust was evil. Is it possible for someone to disagree with you and be correct?

    Sorry Barry, but do you want me to tell you whether the external absolute moral standard says that the person could be correct or if my own personal belief system says that? Or are you hoping to switch after I’ve given you the answer? Maybe you hope that nobody will notice you trying the same scam on the same thread where I explained how I thought it was dishonest – and even you have indicated that your ploy is to try to make the other person “appear” to be stupid or evil.

    I will answer the question separately for each interpretation as I see it.

    1) Does the external objective moral standard assert that the person is wrong? I don’t know, but my belief is there is no such external objective standard to assert anything. However, if there was such a thing, I would fully both want and expect it to state that the Holocaust and its defender were wrong. Furthermore, if I was asked to contribute to such a list, “The Holocaust was wrong” would be one of the first things I would add to it if were not there already. I would also add ” and no matter who did it (anticipating Barry’s next move) or when (even if it was a long time ago)” And I would hope that anyone else would answer in a similar way.

    Now Barry will use his keen legal mind to analyse that and somehow conclude that I approve of the Holocaust.

    2) Do I personally believe that the someone can think that the Holocaust was ok and be correct?
    Within my belief system the Holocaust is about the wrongest thing there is – the person could not be more wrong about anything and I am the world authority on what my belief system says. However, my belief system is not external and objective. Barry will be the first to tell you that he thinks my beliefs are worthless, my definition is full of holes and that I get it wrong about absolutely everything except for Holocausts and Baby Torture.
    My guess is that Barry’s take home from that will be “Steve secretly bases his beliefs on Barry^W God’s own external objective morality”.

  52. 52
    bornagain77 says:

    steve, I’m quite comfortable that the unbiased reader will be able to clearly see that you have not even begun to adequately address my points in posts 32 and 33 on either the philosophical or empirical level.

    Thanks for your help in proving my point that you got nothing.

  53. 53
    Ed George says:

    If we are truly honest about it, all we can say about the existance of objective moral truths is that we hope that they exist, but we don’t know for sure.

  54. 54
    steve_h says:

    Thanks for your help in proving my point that you got nothing.

    You’re welcome. For what it’s worth I only skimmed through your posts and mainly
    saw quotes that were about “molecules in motion” rather than absolute morality; what appeared to be an attempt to out me (incorrectly) as a homosexual; something about the origin of genes and proteins; the mental consequences of atheism; the body knowing about your decisions before your mind; absolute morality and morality being used interchangably and some stuff about meaning and the usual quantum woo.

    It doesn’t matter. I am happy to be out of this conversation, to return to scrolling past your
    comments and not to have been beaten to a pulp in your basement. Congratulations on your victory
    and goodbye.

  55. 55
    Ed George says:

    Steve_h

    It doesn’t matter. I am happy to be out of this conversation, to return to scrolling past your
    comments and not to have been beaten to a pulp in your basement. Congratulations on your victory
    and goodbye.

    Makes the”read more” button look more appealing, doesn’t it? 🙂

  56. 56
    Barry Arrington says:

    steve_h at 51:
    This was my question: “You believe the Holocaust was evil. Is it possible for someone to disagree with you and be correct?”
    It is a really simple question that can be answered as follows: (1) “Yes, it is possible for someone to disagree with me and be correct” or (2) “No, it is not possible for someone to disagree with me and be correct.”
    You see, steve, possibility is a discrete function. That means something is either possible or it is not possible.
    Everyone watched you twist yourself into knots trying to avoid either (1) or (2). I don’t blame you really. If you choose (1), you are obviously wrong and a moral monster to boot. If you choose (2), you have to give up your subjective relativism.
    That’s enough. Knowing that you will never answer is answer enough. Thanks for playing.
    Oh, by the way, if my metaphysics forced me to avoid answering a simple question in a straightforward way, I think I might reconsider my metaphysics. That’s just me though.

  57. 57
  58. 58
    bornagain77 says:

    Some of my references that steveh tried to hand wave off were:

    Since unguided Darwinian processes have never shown the origination of a even a single gene and/or protein, as these following references show,,,

    Stephen Meyer (and Doug Axe) Critique Richard Dawkins’s “Mount Improbable” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rgainpMXa8

    Yockey and a Calculator Versus Evolutionists – Cornelius Hunter PhD – September 25, 2015
    Excerpt: In a 1977 paper published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, Hubert Yockey used information theory to evaluate the likelihood of the evolution of a relatively simple protein.,,,
    Yockey found that the probability of evolution finding the cytochrome c protein sequence is about one in 10^64. That is a one followed by 64 zeros—an astronomically large number. He concluded in the peer-reviewed paper that the belief that proteins appeared spontaneously “is based on faith.”
    Indeed, Yockey’s early findings are in line with, though a bit more conservative than, later findings. A 1990 study of a small, simple protein found that 10^63 attempts would be required for evolution to find the protein.
    A 2004 study found that 10^64 to 10^77 attempts are required, and a 2006 study concluded that 10^70 attempts would be required.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ersus.html

    Dan S. Tawfik Group – The New View of Proteins – Tyler Hampton – 2016
    Excerpt: Tawfik soberly recognizes the problem. The appearance of early protein families, he has remarked, is “something like close to a miracle.”45,,,
    “In fact, to our knowledge,” Tawfik and Tóth-Petróczy write, “no macromutations … that gave birth to novel proteins have yet been identified.”69
    http://inference-review.com/ar.....f-proteins

    ,,, Since unguided Darwinian processes have never shown the origination of a even a single gene and/or protein,,, then it is very interesting to note that the gene expression of humans are designed in a very sophisticated way so as to differentiate between hedonic moral happiness and ‘noble’ moral happiness: The following paper states that there are hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,, “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”

    Human Cells Respond in Healthy, Unhealthy Ways to Different Kinds of Happiness – July 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health,,,
    The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found.,,,
    But if all happiness is created equal, and equally opposite to ill-being, then patterns of gene expression should be the same regardless of hedonic or eudaimonic well-being. Not so, found the researchers.
    Eudaimonic well-being was, indeed, associated with a significant decrease in the stress-related CTRA gene expression profile. In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with a significant increase in the CTRA profile. Their genomics-based analyses, the authors reported, reveal the hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,,
    “We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically,” she said. “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....161952.htm

    To add to those references that steveh tried to hand wave off as if they were of no real consequence, and to further prove my point that Darwinian processes are totally incapable of producing such a nuanced pattern for ‘morally noble’ gene expression, I will ask a simple question.

    Where is love, empathy, and altruism to be found in Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ maxim?

    “One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”
    – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

    Morally noble altruistic behavior of any type is simply completely antithetical to Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ theory.

    In fact, Darwin himself offered this following ‘anti-altruism’ standard as a falsification criteria for his theory, “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species”… and even stated that “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.”

    “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species; though throughout nature one species incessantly takes advantage of, and profits by, the structure of another. But natural selection can and does often produce structures for the direct injury of other species, as we see in the fang of the adder, and in the ovipositor of the ichneumon, by which its eggs are deposited in the living bodies of other insects. If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.”
    – Charles Darwin – Origin of Species
    http://darwin-online.org.uk/Va.....-1859.html

    But to drive Darwin’s point further home, If evolution by natural selection were actually the truth about how all life came to be on Earth then the only life that should be around should be extremely small organisms with the highest replication rate, and with the most ‘mutational firepower’, since only they, (since they greatly outclass multi-cellular organism in terms of ‘reproductive success’ and ‘mutational firepower’), would be fittest to survive in the dog eat dog world where blind pitiless evolution ruled and only the fittest are allowed to survive. The logic of this is nicely summed up here in this following Richard Dawkins’ video:

    Richard Dawkins interview with a ‘Darwinian’ physician goes off track – video
    Excerpt: “I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly — a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves — that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we’re stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62031.html

    In other words, since successful reproduction is all that really matters on a neo-Darwinian view of things, how can anything but successful, and highly efficient reproduction, be realistically ‘selected’ for? Darwin himself stated, “every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers;”

    “every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers;”
    – Charles Darwin – Origin of Species – pg. 66

    The logic of natural selection is nicely and simply illustrated on the following graph:

    The Logic of Natural Selection – graph
    http://recticulatedgiraffe.wee.....35.jpg?308

    As you can see, any other function besides successful reproduction, such as much slower sexual reproduction, sight, hearing, abstract thinking, and especially altruism, would be highly superfluous to the primary criteria of successful reproduction, and should, on a Darwinian view, be discarded, and/or ‘eaten’, by bacteria, as so much excess baggage since it obviously would slow down successful reproduction.

    Yet, contrary to this central ‘survival of the fittest’ assumption of Darwinian evolution, instead of eating us, time after time we find micro-organisms helping each other, and us, in ways that have nothing to with their own ‘survival of the fittest’’ concerns.

    The following researchers said they were ‘banging our heads against the wall’ by the contradictory findings to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking that they had found:

    Doubting Darwin: Algae Findings Surprise Scientists – April 28, 2014
    Excerpt: One of Charles Darwin’s hypotheses posits that closely related species will compete for food and other resources more strongly with one another than with distant relatives, because they occupy similar ecological niches. Most biologists long have accepted this to be true.
    Thus, three researchers were more than a little shaken to find that their experiments on fresh water green algae failed to support Darwin’s theory — at least in one case.
    “It was completely unexpected,” says Bradley Cardinale, associate professor in the University of Michigan’s school of natural resources & environment. “When we saw the results, we said ‘this can’t be.”‘ We sat there banging our heads against the wall. Darwin’s hypothesis has been with us for so long, how can it not be right?”
    The researchers ,,,— were so uncomfortable with their results that they spent the next several months trying to disprove their own work. But the research held up.,,,
    The scientists did not set out to disprove Darwin, but, in fact, to learn more about the genetic and ecological uniqueness of fresh water green algae so they could provide conservationists with useful data for decision-making. “We went into it assuming Darwin to be right, and expecting to come up with some real numbers for conservationists,” Cardinale says. “When we started coming up with numbers that showed he wasn’t right, we were completely baffled.”,,,
    Darwin “was obsessed with competition,” Cardinale says. “He assumed the whole world was composed of species competing with each other, but we found that one-third of the species of algae we studied actually like each other. They don’t grow as well unless you put them with another species. It may be that nature has a heck of a lot more mutualisms than we ever expected.
    “,,, Maybe Darwin’s presumption that the world may be dominated by competition is wrong.”
    http://www.livescience.com/452.....f-bts.html

    And again, directly contrary to the central ‘survival of the fittest’ assumption of Darwinian evolution, we find that bacteria are also directly helping us in essential ways that have nothing to do with their own survival of the fittest concerns:

    NIH Human Microbiome Project defines normal bacterial makeup of the body – June 13, 2012
    Excerpt: Microbes inhabit just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. Sometimes they cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival.
    http://www.nih.gov/news/health.....gri-13.htm

  59. 59
    bornagain77 says:

    We are living in a bacterial world, and it’s impacting us more than previously thought – February 15, 2013
    Excerpt: We often associate bacteria with disease-causing “germs” or pathogens, and bacteria are responsible for many diseases, such as tuberculosis, bubonic plague, and MRSA infections. But bacteria do many good things, too, and the recent research underlines the fact that animal life would not be the same without them.,,,
    I am,, convinced that the number of beneficial microbes, even very necessary microbes, is much, much greater than the number of pathogens.”
    http://phys.org/news/2013-02-b.....tml#ajTabs

    Moreover, directly contrary to Darwin’s claim that “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species”, it is now known that “Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.”

    The Microbial Engines That Drive Earth’s Biogeochemical Cycles – Paul G. Falkowski – 2008
    Excerpt: Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.
    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/v.....8;type=pdf
    – Paul G. Falkowski is Professor Geological Sciences at Rutgers

    As well, in the following article Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig reveals that “in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species.”

    Plant Galls and Evolution
    How More than Twelve Thousand1 Ugly Facts are Slaying a Beautiful Hypothesis: Darwinism2
    Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – 7 September 2017
    Excerpt: in the case of the galls, in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as the modern versions of it. The galls are not ‘useful to the possessor’, the plants. There is no space for these phenomena in the world of “the selfish gene” (Dawkins). Moreover, the same conclusion appears to be true for thousands of angiosperm species producing deceptive flowers (in contrast to gall formations, now for the exclusive good of the plant species) – a topic which should be carefully treated in another paper.
    http://www.weloennig.de/PlantGalls.pdf

    Moreover, to dive a little bit deeper, the falsification of this ‘survival of the fittest’, i.e. ‘selfish’, thinking occurs at the molecular level too.

    The ‘selfish gene’ concept is more of less directly based on Darwin’s own ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking about competition. Yet genes are now found to be anything but selfish. Instead of ‘selfish’, genes are now found to be existing in a holistic web of mutual interdependence and cooperation (the antithesis of selfishness).

    What If (Almost) Every Gene Affects (Almost) Everything? – JUN 16, 2017
    Excerpt: If you told a modern geneticist that a complex trait—whether a physical characteristic like height or weight, or the risk of a disease like cancer or schizophrenia—was the work of just 15 genes, they’d probably laugh. It’s now thought that such traits are the work of thousands of genetic variants, working in concert. The vast majority of them have only tiny effects, but together, they can dramatically shape our bodies and our health. They’re weak individually, but powerful en masse.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/06/its-like-all-connected-man/530532/

    Theory Suggests That All Genes Affect Every Complex Trait – June 20, 2018
    Excerpt: Mutations of a single gene are behind sickle cell anemia, for instance, and mutations in another are behind cystic fibrosis.
    But unfortunately for those who like things simple, these conditions are the exceptions. The roots of many traits, from how tall you are to your susceptibility to schizophrenia, are far more tangled. In fact, they may be so complex that almost the entire genome may be involved in some way,,,
    One very early genetic mapping study in 1999 suggested that “a large number of loci (perhaps > than 15)” might contribute to autism risk, recalled Jonathan Pritchard, now a geneticist at Stanford University. “That’s a lot!” he remembered thinking when the paper came out.
    Over the years, however, what scientists might consider “a lot” in this context has quietly inflated. Last June, Pritchard and his Stanford colleagues Evan Boyle and Yang Li (now at the University of Chicago) published a paper about this in Cell that immediately sparked controversy, although it also had many people nodding in cautious agreement. The authors described what they called the “omnigenic” model of complex traits. Drawing on GWAS analyses of three diseases, they concluded that in the cell types that are relevant to a disease, it appears that not 15, not 100, but essentially all genes contribute to the condition. The authors suggested that for some traits, “multiple” loci could mean more than 100,000.
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/omnigenic-model-suggests-that-all-genes-affect-every-complex-trait-20180620/

    Gene Pleiotropy Roadblocks Evolution by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. – Dec. 8, 2016
    Excerpt: Before the advent of modern molecular biology, scientists defined a gene as a single unit of inheritance. If a gene was found to influence multiple externally visible traits, it was said to be pleiotropic—a term first used in 1910.2 During this early period of genetic discovery, pleiotropy was considered to be quite rare because scientists assumed most genes only possessed a single function—a simplistic idea that remained popular throughout most of the 20th century. However, as our understanding of genetics grew through DNA science, it became clear that genes operate in complex interconnected networks. Furthermore, individual genes produce multiple variants of end products with different effects through a variety of intricate mechanisms.2,3 Taken together, these discoveries show that pleiotropy is a common feature of nearly every gene.,,,
    The pleiotropy evolution problem is widely known among secular geneticists, but rarely discussed in the popular media. In this new research report, the authors state, “Many studies have provided evidence for the ability of pleiotropy to constrain gene evolution.”,,,
    “Our study provided supportive evidence that pleiotropy constraints the evolution of transcription factors (Tfs).”,,,
    The authors state, “We showed that highly pleiotropic genes are more likely to be associated with a disease phenotype.”,,,
    http://www.icr.org/article/9747

    Such ‘holistic cooperation’ is, needless to say, the exact polar opposite of being ‘selfish’. (And should, if Darwinism were a normal science instead of being basically a religion for atheists, count as a direct falsification of the theory).

    Even Shapiro himself, who shuns Intelligent Design, admits that “the ‘Gene’ Concept Holds Back Evolutionary Thinking”. and further states that “The modern concept of the genome has no basic units. It has literally become “systems all the way down.”

    Why the ‘Gene’ Concept Holds Back Evolutionary Thinking – James Shapiro – 11/30/2012
    Excerpt: The Century of the Gene. In a 1948 Scientific American article, soon-to-be Nobel Laureate George Beadle wrote: “genes are the basic units of all living things.”,,,
    This notion of the genome as a collection of discrete gene units prevailed when the neo-Darwinian “Modern Synthesis” emerged in the pre-DNA 1940s. Some prominent theorists even proposed that evolution could be defined simply as a change over time in the frequencies of different gene forms in a population.,,,
    The basic issue is that molecular genetics has made it impossible to provide a consistent, or even useful, definition of the term “gene.” In March 2009, I attended a workshop at the Santa Fe Institute entitled “Complexity of the Gene Concept.” Although we had a lot of smart people around the table, we failed as a group to agree on a clear meaning for the term.
    The modern concept of the genome has no basic units. It has literally become “systems all the way down.” There are piecemeal coding sequences, expression signals, splicing signals, regulatory signals, epigenetic formatting signals, and many other “DNA elements” (to use the neutral ENCODE terminology) that participate in the multiple functions involved in genome expression, replication, transmission, repair and evolution.,,,
    Conventional thinkers may claim that molecular data only add details to a well-established evolutionary paradigm. But the diehard defenders of orthodoxy in evolutionary biology are grievously mistaken in their stubbornness. DNA and molecular genetics have brought us to a fundamentally new conceptual understanding of genomes, how they are organized and how they function.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....07245.html

    Moreover, on top of all that, if anything ever went against Darwin’s claim that “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species”, it is the notion that a single cell somehow became tens of trillions of cells that cooperate “exclusively for the good of other cells” in a single organism for the singular purpose of keeping that single organism alive.

    To claim that one cell transforming into the tens of trillions cells, (of extremely cooperative, even altruistic, cells that make up our ONE human body), is anything less than a miracle is either sheer arrogance or profound ignorance (perhaps both).

    One Body – animation – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDMLq6eqEM4

    Mathematician Alexander Tsiaras on Human Development: “It’s a Mystery, It’s Magic, It’s Divinity” – March 2012
    Excerpt: ‘The magic of the mechanisms inside each genetic structure saying exactly where that nerve cell should go, the complexity of these, the mathematical models on how these things are indeed done, are beyond human comprehension. Even though I am a mathematician, I look at this with the marvel of how do these instruction sets not make these mistakes as they build what is us. It’s a mystery, it’s magic, it’s divinity.’
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....57741.html

    Thus in conclusion, steveh and his buddy Ed G can ignore my references all they want, (it just further proves their intellectual dishonesty when they refuse to honestly address the evidence), but as the unbiased reader can now clearly see, the claim that Darwinian evolution can produce altruistic morality of any sort is directly contradicted by the empirical evidence at every turn.

    One final note, Objective Morality can only be realistically grounded within Theism, and I would further argue that the ‘noblest morality’ of all, to be found within any particular Theistic worldview, is to be found within Christian Theism specifically:

    Romans 5:8
    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

  60. 60
    Ed George says:

    57, 58 and 59. “Read more” button. Please.

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, BA77 has actually put substantial and broadly relevant matters on the table. Oh, let’s ignore and scroll by does not answer the issue. KF

  62. 62
    ET says:

    Ed George has reading comprehension issues. Anything longer than a couple of sentences and Ed is lost.

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